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FISCAL COURT: Jail employees given $1 per-hour pay bump; county sets tax rates

Butler County Fiscal Court met in regular session on Monday, August 23, at the Butler County Courthouse. All magistrates were in attendance: Stevie Givens (1st), Kevin Phelps (2nd), Timmy Givens (3rd), David Whittinghill (4th), and Dillon Bryant (5th).

Wyatt SanCartier led the Pledge of Allegiance and Fifth District Magistrate Dillon Bryant led the prayer.

After approving the minutes, the Court discussed jail wages. Kevin Phelps made a motion to give the employees a $1 per-hour raise (instead of the 2% raise all county employees received). David Whittinghill seconded the motion. The raise will cost approximately $37,393.00 and will use 95% of the jail's budget.

Butler County Jailer Ricky Romans stated that they anticipated $3,000 to $4,000 per month from classes and GEDs that inmates are completing.

Third District Magistrate Timmy Givens stated that a $1 per hour raise was not enough and that they should get $2 per hour. The cost of a $2 per-hour raise would be $91,785.28 due to benefits and would put the jail over budget. Givens suggested shutting down the Butler County Recycling Center, moving the employees to the road department, and hiring a part-time solid waste coordinator.

Ultimately, magistrates approved a $1 per-hour raise for jail employees on a 4-1 with Timmy Givens voting no.  

Jailer Ricky Romans submitted the Annual Jail Commissary Report to the Court for review. There is $77,000 in the account, and Romans stated they would like to purchase a new truck for the work crew at the cost of $25,000.

The Court accepted the following tax rates:

Extension Office: Real Property 7.30, Personal Property 10.36, Motor Vehicle 5.85

Butler County Board of Health: 2.25 cents per $100

The Court approved the following Tax Rates:

Real Property 7.9

Personal Property 7.9

Motor Vehicle and Watercraft 10.8

Bank Franchise .25

Fire Acres .03

The compensating rate is 7.7cents per $100 of assessed value and is expexted to produce revenues of $356,751.00, the same as last year. However, due to property values increasing, the 7.9 rate approved by the Court (a 3-2 vote) will increase tax bills and expected to produce revenues of $366,017.00. Dillon Bryant and Timmy Givens voted no.

Judge-Executive Tim Flener updated the Court on the feasibility study on the Regional Jail. The cost to build the 300 to 350-bed facility would be $27 million, and the estimated cost to operate the jail would be $2 million per year. The expenses would be divided between Ohio, Butler, and Edmonson counties. The report is in Judge Flener's office for public viewing.  There are still several questions to be answered, but each Court (from the participating counties) will require a resolution to move forward.

 Judge Flener also shared with the Court a meeting with Compass Municipal Advisors, LLC and Stites and Harbison PLLC to provide guidance on spending the money from the American Rescue Plan Act - a service they provide for a fee. In addition, they are preparing a revenue loss report to present to the Court. No action was taken.  

Dillon Bryant asked about illegal dumps in the county. Several dumps across the county were submitted, and only one - in the Fourth District - was approved.

The Court approved the following:

--Bills and transfers

--Transfer of $25,000 from General Fund to Jail Fund

--2022 Spay Neuter Agreement giving Judge Flener authority to sign

--DOC Jail Payment HB556 giving Judge Flener authority to sign

--Minutes from Public Hearing on 8/18/21

--Big Reedy Watershed Conservancy District

--Fall Clean-Up Days September 30, October 1-2



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